Publication Details

Hamilton, M. 2021. Who's watching? Neo-realism and global 'brand Ibsen' in Germany and Australia, in Theatre and Internationalization: Perspectives from Australia, Germany, and Beyond, eds, U Garde & J R Severn, Routledge, pp. 179-196


This chapter takes up the question of global ‘brand Ibsen’ through an analysis of the Australian theatre director, Simon Stone’s adaptation of the Norwegian playwright’s drama The Wild Duck. Its analysis is framed by a discussion of the impact of the German theatre director Thomas Ostermeier’s early, influential staging of Ibsen and in particular his Nora and Hedda Gabler. It addresses the following question: What accounts for the politico-aesthetic ‘logic’ and success of these artists’ engagement with Ibsen? In doing so, the chapter positions (neo)realism as a form of theatre intrinsic to the domestication of capitalism and deploys Mark Fisher’s (2009) neologism for a market-dominated present – capitalist realism – as a conceptual tool to consider the politics of mise en scène in a culture defined by neoliberal consumption. It concludes that the performances scrutinized reinforce the increasing privatisation of experience and the paralysis intrinsic to (theatre) spectatorship, thereby smoothing the terrain for the internationalization of processes of identification and commodification.



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